The Grace of a Nightingale 2019: No

The Grace of a Nightingale 2019: No : A Memoir of Vulnerability, Hope and Love

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Mary Anne's story is both ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary because she was searching for the same things many of us search for: love, understanding and purpose; and extraordinary because she had to go through hell to find them.

Her life was turbulent. Born in a decaying northern town to a dysfunctional family in the 1960s, Mary Anne had to endure mental, physical, and sexual abuse and cope with the devastating effects of parental alcoholism and suicide. She had her self-esteem and confidence crushed by two disastrous marriages, and she lives with the emotional and physical scars caused by a surgical procedure which has become the medical scandal of our age: mesh implants. But, despite everything, she always remained determined to endure and to find something better.

The Grace of a Nightingale is a brilliantly heartfelt odyssey of survival. Even in her darkest moments, Mary Anne's courage and faith, combined with her passionate appreciation of beauty in nature, books and music, bring glimpses of light and hope. On her journey through life, Mary Anne's mat carriers, both friends and strangers, supported her to triumph over adversity. And, like all the best stories, there is a happy ending.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 254 pages
  • 155.96 x 233.93 x 20.57mm | 662.24g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Hardback ed.
  • 1913142000
  • 9781913142001

Review quote

This gripping memoir follows Mary Anne Willow's life through unimaginable difficulties. If I mention domestic violence, sexual abuse, alcoholism and child grooming, you might not want to read on, but the times of great sadness are interspersed with moments of real joy. This joy, bringing the expectation of a better future, was made possible by the many supporters who have helped Mary Anne on the way. These are her 'mat carriers', giving her resilience and self-belief, allowing her to emerge whole and happy from the maelstrom of her life. Today she still endures debilitating physical distress, but she has also found love and hope and peace.

From the outset, Mary Anne's imagination was her rock: the frightened child created a safe place in her mind where nature was a soothing presence, with rivers and streams, mountains and trees as trustworthy companions. Psychotherapists recommend to their clients the creation of a psychologically safe place, somewhere they can go when traumatic memories become too much to bear.

Mary Anne's journey offers us hope. We can learn to understand ourselves and our behaviours, to respect and accept our needs. By discovering our truth, we too can make choices for our good and the world.

Dr Evleen Mann

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